How to Come Up With Business Ideas


There’s a lot of people out there that are motivated and willing to work, but they’re not sure what to work on. They’re looking for an idea worth pursuing, to have a crack at owning a business. Here’s how you can come up with ideas.

Self Education

First off, if you are in this position and you’re not sure what to do with your motivation, self educate as much as you can. Read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, meet influential people, do anything and everything you can around entrepreneurship to learn as much as possible. Nothing will totally prepare you for real life business (it’s physically impossible because you cannot teach entrepreneurship), but it will certainly help. You will always make mistakes, but it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others to save you time and money.

Also, in this process you will almost definitely think of a business, or meet someone in the same position as you that you can create one with.

Think of Solutions to Problems

Businesses are just that: solutions to problems. Rather than trying to think of a business idea, think of problems you can solve. Write down any annoying things that happen in everyday life. And I mean EVERYTHING. Every time something doesn’t work, something bothers you, something that takes too long, anything and everything that is a problem. Probably 80% of these won’t result in a viable, scalable business idea, but it’s where you start.

I have a notes section in my phone full of crazy ideas. Most of them wouldn’t work, but it’s important to keep your creative brain muscles working. The more ideas you come up with, the more there will be that keep coming. 

Look at Existing Businesses

I can’t remember the exact statistic, but I was listening to some audio from Brian Tracy, and he talks about this. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel, look at the people / companies solving the world’s problems, and see if you can come up with a way to do it better. You don’t need a brand new idea to create a million dollar business. Google was the 11th search engine! On this topic, next week's article will be ‘Someone Else Has Done Your Idea? It’s Not Too Late’. Definitely relevant! 

Talk About Your Ideas

Even if they’re stupid ideas, it’s important to talk about them. This is for 3 reasons.

1) Your feedback can mould your idea into something viable. Even saying it out loud, you'll realise things yourself that you didn't before.

2) It will teach you to validate a market, and talk to real people when you have your actual business.

3) Nobody's going to steal it, your idea isn't the next Facebook, and you aren't Mark Zuckerberg.

Team Up

You'd be surprised how many other people are out there in your position! I've certainly teamed up with people even just to bounce ideas off each other - in fact that's how The Exceptions started! Look for people that have a similar mentality to you, and if possible, somebody with different skill sets. That way you can bring double the value to the table, when you go ahead with whatever it is you figure out. It's harder to find good people than good ideas. If you're not already in our private Facebook Group, contact us via email or shoot us a Facebook message on our public page to join.

Immerse Yourself In a Business Atmosphere

I often talk about how important a circle of influence is (read my article on why it's so important here), and this ties into that. As well as having influential friends, you should also be around the environment that you want to be a part of. Go places where you will find opportunity. Join online communities (just like The Exceptions, or forums), join a startup space (like Little Tokyo Two), even do an internship if you think you'll enjoy it. This sort of thing leads to my next point...

Reach Out to Business People

Don't be afraid to contact successful people, no matter what level of success they have. You've got nothing to lose here, and you could potentially make a great connection! Not only can you learn a lot in general from other business people, you will likely either

1) Think of a business idea in the process from being around these people or
2) Get close enough with this person and be a part of one of their businesses, maybe even a brand new one that they've been holding off until they had the right person... a.k.a... you!  

If I were a large business owner and there was a young person that just wanted to learn, and could help me out with everyday tasks in return for wisdom, I would!

Get Started

Even if you have a pretty dodgy idea, barely any connections and no money, my number one piece of advice is ALWAYS: Just get started. All the planning in the world won’t prepare you, you need to just dive in and you’ll figure it out along the way. 



(Twitter @mitchills)

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